The value of the sadhus’ association.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Twin Rainbow Lorikeet Parrots


‘sadhu-sanga’, ‘sadhu-sanga’—sarva-sastre kaya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 22.54)

All the scriptures have told us, “Get the association of the sadhus.”

An example of how important such association is has been given in the scriptures. Once, two birds were born in the jungle but while they were babies before they could fly, one was taken by a dacoit, and the other was taken by the son of a rsi. One bird went to a bad man’s house, and the other grew up in a rsi’s house. Everyone’s behaviour was very nice in the rsi’s house. Whenever a guest would arrive, everyone would say, “Welcome. Welcome. Please come in and be seated here” and then they would tell others, “Give him some water and clean his feet.” The bird in this house would hear all of this and learned this cultured behaviour. The other bird would also hear and observe the way guests were treated in his house. There, the householders would say, “Who are you? Get out! Why have you come here? You will not get anything from us you nonsense rascal!”

It is the nature of Indian sadhus to go to homes of householders, beg for something to eat, and thereby maintain themselves and continue their meditation, chanting, and so on.

Once, such a sadhu went to that bad man’s house to beg for some food. When he said, “Hare Krishna” or something, someone replied, “Oh! Such nonsense! Who are you? Get away from this house! Why have you come here?” At first, the sadhu could not understand where these words were coming from but when he looked closer, he saw that a bird was saying all these bad things. He was surprised to see this and thought, “What is this?” Anyhow, he left that house and after passing down the road for some time, he arrived at the house of the rsi. There, the other bird greeted him, “Oh! Look who has arrived! Welcome. Welcome. Please come inside and be seated.” The bird also called inside the house, “Please come to look after a guest that has arrived. Please give him good nourishment.”

The swami was stunned to hear this. He thought, “I saw the exact same kind of bird at that previous house, but this bird is speaking so nicely.” The sadhu said to the bird, “I saw another bird just like you at another house.”

The bird replied, “Yes, yes, that is my brother.”

The sadhu asked, “What happened? You are speaking so nicely to me and welcoming me but he was … ” The bird then spoke this verse to the sadhu:

matapy eka pitapy eka aham cha para paksino
aham munibhir anitas sa chanito gavasanaih
aham muninam vachanam srnomi
gavasananam sa srnoti vakyam
na tasya doso na cha me guno va
samsargaja dosa-guna bhavanti

“O Sadhu, what can I say? Our father and mother are the same. We both grew up in the jungle, but while we were still very immature, my brother was stolen away by some gavasanas [cow-eaters], and I came with the son of this muni. Since then, I have been living here, and he has been living there. I have always been hearing the words of the muni and his friends, and my brother has been hearing from that family of gavasanas. So, nothing here is to my credit and he is not at fault. It is all to the credit of association. He has the association of gavasanas, and I have the association of a muni. It is association that gives us our good and bad qualities.”


sadhu-sange krsna-nama—ei-matra chai
samsara jinite ara kona vastu nai
(Sri Sri Prema-vivarta: 6.13)

It is not necessary to read a whole Ganges full of scriptures. It is only necessary to get the association of a pure sadhu and chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Mahaprabhu said this is the goal of life for the soul. With that, they will get everything, all that they need and far more—shelter in the transcendental service world. There, everything creates happiness, joy, ecstasy, charm, and beauty, and there the soul gets everything through the service of Krishna. This is the glory of the sadhus’ association.


Spoken on 17 June 1993.